The ship's log part, called a fish, is likely to be from a mechanical taffrail log system. It was recovered from the wreck site of the barque, the 1840-1852 Grange. There are no marks on the fish to identify its maker or model. It is part of the John Chance Collection.
This ‘fish’ is part of an early to mid-1800s ship's log. It would likely have been part of a taffrail log connected to a rotor (also called propeller, spinner) by a strong line, and the other end connected by a line to a dial mounted on the taffrail, or stern rail, at the stern of the vessel. As the propeller rotated through the water it would spin the log, which in turn would cause a number to register on the dial, showing the current speed in knots; one knot equals one nautical mile per hour.
A taffrail log is a nautical instrument used for measuring the speed of a vessel, providing vital navigational information to be calculated, such as location and direction. A log has been used to measure the speed of a vessel since the 1500s. A simple piece of wood was tied to a long line and thrown into sea at the back of the vessel. The rope was knotted all along at equal distances apart. On a given signal the log line was pulled back into the vessels, the knots counted until the log came up, then the figures were calculated by a navigator
In 1802 the first successful mechanical log available for general use was invented by Edward Massey. It had a rotor 'V' section connected to a recording mechanism. The water’s movement rotated the rotor, which intern sent the movement to the recorder. There are examples of this invention available to see in some of the maritime museums. Thomas Walker, nephew of Edward Massey, improved on Massey’s design, and Walker and his son took out a patent on the A1 Harpoon Log. In 1861. Both Massey and Walker continued to improve the designs of the taffrail log. New designs were still being introduced, even up to the 1950s.
THE JOHN CHANCE COLLECTION
Flagstaff Hill received a donation of over 100 shipwreck artefacts that were salvaged by John Chance, an abalone fisherman, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The items come from several wrecks along Victoria’s coast, including the Casino, George Roper, Grange, Inverlochy and Loch Ard. At that time there was no legislation to protect significant shipwrecks and their artefacts.
John began diving in 1967 at Mallacoota Inlet, Victoria. In early 1968 he bought his own boat and equipment and moved to Cape Everard, which had easier access to water and to a market for his abalone.
In 1968 John Chance and Mal Brown were working along Victoria’s coast with a fishing party when they heard about the 1858 wreck of the Grange at Apollo Bay. The two men managed to salvage the anchor from the seabed.
Later in the 1960’s and early 1970’s John lived at Apollo Bay and spent a lot of his time with the notable maritime author Jack Loney as he wrote his books about shipwrecks in this area.
John felt compelled to visit Glenample homestead after diving on the Loch Ard. He was interested in the historical significance of the two survivors of the Loch Ard being taken there. Glenample Homestead was abandoned at the time. It was in poor condition and pieces of the roof were missing. While he was there John found a collection of old keys in the pantry and gathered them for safe keeping. He also photographed the historic building.
John later moved to Western Australia. Many of the recovered artefacts have been returned to the Federal Government after the introduction of the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, which was passed by law to protect significant Australian shipwrecks and their artefacts. This Act was replaced in 2018 by the Australian Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018 (Underwater Heritage Act).
THE GRANGE, 1840-1858
The wooden barque ’Grange’ was a three-masted ship built in Scotland in 1840 for international and coastal trade.
On March 22, 1858, the Grange set sail from Melbourne for its voyage to Guam under Captain A. Alexander, carrying a cargo of ballast. The barque had left the Heads of Phillip Bay and was heading west along the Victorian coast towards Cape Otway. The crew was watching for navigation signals through the misty rain and light wind, hoping to sight the light at Cape Otway. A light was sighted around 4am and it was falsely assumed that it was the Cape Otway lighthouse, when it fact it was a small settlement at Apollo Bay. The ship struck Little Haley’s Reef at Apollo Bay and was stuck on the rocks. The crew left the stranded ship, carrying whatever they could onto the beach. Eventually, the remains of the hull, sails and fittings were salvaged before the wreck of the Grange broke up about a month later.
About 110 years later, in 1968, the wreck of the Grange was found by divers from the Underwater Explorers Club of Victoria. They were amazed to find a unique, six to nine pound carronade (type of small cannon) and a cannonball on the site. There have been no other similar carronades recorded.
The ship's log part is significant historically as an example of navigation instruments used by ships in the early to mid-19th century.
The ship's log part is significant for its connection with other shipwreck artefacts in the John Chance Collection. The artefacts have come from wrecks lost in the coastal waters of Victoria from thirty to over a hundred years before John Chance and other discovered them. The artefacts are a sample of goods carried as cargo and personal possessions, and of ship hardware from that era.
The ship's log part is historically significant for its association with the 1840s wooden barque, the Grange.
The Grange is an historical example of a Scottish built vessel used for international and coastal trader of both cargo and passengers in the mid-19th century.
The Grange is an example of an early ship, designed with a wooden hull. It is significant as a ship still available to divers along the south coast of Victoria, for research and education purposes.
The Grange is an example of a mid-19th century vessel that carried a weapon of defence onboard.
Ship log fitting, called a fish; part of a brass navigational instrument, likely to be from a taffrail log.
The metal is a tan colour and has rough surface with a sheen, and discolouration in places. Its basic shape is a hollow cylinder with ends tapering to a smaller size. In the centre there are opposing openings cut out, showing a rough texture inside. One end on the cylinder is closed with a ring and shank installed, fixed by an embedded screw through the end of the cylinder. There are no inscriptions.
Recovered from the wreck site of the 1840-1852 Grange. Part of the John Chance Collection.
flagstaff hill, warrnambool, flagstaff hill maritime museum, maritime museum, shipwreck coast, flagstaff hill maritime village, great ocean road, west coast trader, apollo bay, mid-19th century shipwreck, the grange, scottish barque, little henty reef, captain a alexander, underwater explorers club of victoria, vhr 5297, coastal trader, wooden shipwreck, john chance, wooden ship, taffrail log, marine instrument, marine technology, navigation, nautical instrument, mechanical log, nautical navigation, navigation equipment, scientific instrument, ship log, ship log register, ship speed, taff rail log, patent log, towed log, taffrail log fish, edward massey, thomas walker